U.S. Congress renews important legislation governing U.S. trade with African countries

Last week, a significant piece of legislation was passed in both the House and Senate that governs U.S. trade with the Sub-Saharan African region. However, it received minimal media attention, especially when compared to news within the past year emphasizing trade with Latin American countries and Asian countries such as China and India. This brief post highlights the important U.S. legislation that governs U.S. trade with countries throughout Sub-Saharan African.

On August 2, both the House and Senate each passed a bill (see H.R. 5986 and S. 3326) that would extend the Third Country Fabric Provision of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). The Third Country Fabric Provision was set to expire on September 30 of this year.

AGOA allows eligible African countries to export goods to the United States without paying duties on those exports. The Third Country Fabric Provision guarantees duty-free access to apparel produced in Sub-Saharan African countries and exported to the United States. The apparel can consist of textiles produced in other regions.

AGOA and its Third Country Fabric Provision have been instrumental in providing U.S. retailers an additional source of less expensive garments. Furthermore, eligible African countries, particularly the apparel industry in some of these countries, have benefitted economically from preferential access to the U.S. market.

AGOA was passed in 2000 and has to be renewed every five years. The Third Country Fabric provision within AGOA has to be reauthorized every three years. In 2015, Congress will have to vote on whether or not to extend AGOA and its Third Country Fabric Provision.

The next question that International Trade Examiner will explore is: Is the African market important for U.S. businesses? (Take our poll below to let us know what you think.)


About Dr. Sarita D. Jackson

is the President and CEO of the Global Research Institute of International Trade, a think-tank/consulting firm that examines trade policies and their impact on domestic businesses. Prior to heading GRIIT, Dr. Jackson was a tenured associate professor of political science in North Carolina and worked as a trade policy consultant for an Arlington-based consulting firm. She has participated in trade policy projects and conducted research on free trade negotiations in Botswana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Panama. Dr. Jackson has also traveled to Chile and Argentina to study their political systems and economic integration policies.
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One Response to U.S. Congress renews important legislation governing U.S. trade with African countries

  1. Ebony Wofford says:

    I believe that AGOA is instrumental in helping these countries’ economies grow. Unfortunately, having to renew this policy every 5 years could be problematic, because if it is denied, it would hurt those countries affected. The policy should be made permanent.

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